Breastfeeding can at times feel like a scary mystery. Our resident Certified Lactation Counselor Molly Petersen gives you the facts.
While breastfeeding often gets misunderstood for causing physical changes to the breasts, most of the changes to a mom’s breasts actually happen during pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body is in preparation mode: It's preparing to breastfeed your little one, and you may notice that your breasts get larger, your nipples and areolae get larger and darker, and veins in your breasts become more noticeable. If you notice that your breast seem to look different by the hour—changing color slightly, or even changing shape—don't be alarmed by this. This is because as your body is producing milk, your breasts are responding accordingly.
Another big breast change after breastfeeding I see often is nipples becoming sore or cracked, which typically happens when babies are first getting the hang of breastfeeding. It will likely go away once your baby gets more used to breastfeeding, but there are certain products that can help, like Lansinoh's 3-in-1 breast therapy pack. Also, if you find your breasts are leaking in the early weeks, that's not abnormal at all. Your body is still trying to figure out exactly how much milk it needs to produce.
How to minimize effects
While these differences will continue while you breastfeed, many of these changes will reverse after you give birth or stop breastfeeding. However, it is true your breasts will never be exactly the same as they were before. To help minimize the lasting effects of these changes, my recommendation is to wear a well-fitted nursing bra. You may need to invest in a few sizes, as your breasts get larger during pregnancy and then get smaller again after breastfeeding is established. You should also consider lightly massaging your breasts both during pregnancy and while you're breastfeeding. This will help improve blood flow, giving your breasts more of an ability to bounce back and return to their original state once you're done breastfeeding.
Meet Molly Petersen
“I love when I hear the confidence in a new mom’s voice when she realizes that her body is capable of giving her baby the very best.” Molly began her Lansinoh career assisting customers with product questions, and was inspired to become a CLC when she realized that many questions were more about breastfeeding than products.
UP NEXT: What is a milk blister?